AN: I'm back! Did you miss me? Life's been working in my favor, and I managed to piece together a prologue during my classes when the professors were saying unimportant stuff :D Hey, it's better than drawing stars up and down the margins and making my notes unreadable.
As most of you will probably know already, this is a direct sequel to my recently completed story known as Pint Sized. New readers be aware that absolutely none of this will make sense unless you read the first story or at least the last two or three chapters of the previous story (which probably won't make sense unless you read the whole story, so…I guess you're stuck reading the whole thing :P).
Last but not least, warnings. Humor is my forte, but I'll be experimenting with drama, romance, and slightly more…darker tones. If it's anything worth warning about, I'll include it at the beginning of the chapter like this. For instance, this chapter includes infanticide. Most likely it won't get bad enough to up the rating, but I have no clue where my muse is taking me with this.
DISCLAIMER: I claim no ownership of the Transformers franchise as it belongs to Hasbro. This disclaimer applies to all chapters of this story. As an added addition, anything that seems vaguely familiar to the real world is also not owned by me. The book cover image also does not belong to me. The original background can be found in the link provided on my profile.
Vorn: 83 years
Breem: 8.3 minutes
Stellar cycle: ~7.5 months
A New Version of Reality
One Added Factor
It is an undeniable fact that school plays a crucial role in a person's life. It was a house of learning filled with educators that would take young minds and stuff them with the knowledge that would shape that young person's life. Mathematics, literature, science—all important subjects to build upon later in life. Not only was it there for book learning, but the social environment also played a key role. This was the place for kids to learn how socialize with those their own age, gain the confidence they needed to function in public, and begin foraging the types of relationships that weren't family.
It was also an environment that could make or break a young child. Many thrived amongst their peers, making tons of friends and gaining the type of confidence that would later make them stand out. Others didn't do so well. Despite what parents and school faculty would do to prevent it, bullying was not an uncommon occurrence amongst children ranging from elementary school all the way up high school. It could be something that teachers wouldn't notice, like casual shoving on the playground or harsh words traded in the bathrooms, away from the ears of authority. Other times, the teachers would actually participate in the bullying, shattering a young person's trust and confidence in one blow.
Bullies came in all types. You had the snotty little princess, the "misunderstood" punk, the beefed up jockey, the shrimpy guy that no one ever expected—there was really no telling who would step up to knock another down just to make him or herself feel bigger. But one characteristic of bullies tended to be universal: they started out young.
With that in mind, it shouldn't have been surprising to find one such person in an elementary school yard before class.
"There's no way you're a girl!" the little boy with chestnut hair and freckles splattered across his face said as he pointed at the girl in front of him. "Your hair's too short."
The little girl frowned, trying not to subconsciously reach up and touch the hair he was talking about. She had asked her mom to allow her to get her hair styled that way before school. Long hair just didn't suit her anymore. Granted the hairstylist had butchered her hair because the style she had wanted wasn't popular yet, so she did kind of look like a boy. But everyone she knew told her she looked fine. Had they been lying to her to save her feelings?
"No!" she thought with a shake of her head. She was a grown woman, and she wasn't about to let this little punk make her lose confidence in herself. She'd been through it once; it wasn't going to happen again.
So she turned her back on him, showing that his opinion of her didn't matter, and started to walk over to where the teacher was calling for her class to come in. What she didn't anticipate was a sudden shove from behind that sent her sprawling onto the ground. Tears pricked the corners of her eyes as the playground's wood chips dug into the palms of her hands and her exposed knees. As she sniffed, the boy who had shoved her laughed nastily, his little cronies following his lead.
How could she have forgotten how cruel kids could be? She looked up to see if the teacher had seen, but of course the adult's back had been turned to the whole incident as she dealt with two unruly students. The same way it had worked before.
The little brunette struggled to her feet, wincing as the scraps on her knees stung and ignoring the taunts her fellow student continued to throw at her. She had no doubt it would have continued all the way into the classroom if someone hadn't suddenly dragged her into a strangling hug. "Victoria! What happened? Did you fall? Ouch, that looks like it hurts. Here lemme help with that."
The girl, Victoria, winced as the new blond boy yanked out a particularly large sliver of wood from her palm. The bully gaped at the new boy before glaring in his third grader way. "Who are you?"
The blond ignored the glare and smiled broadly showing off the dimples that Victoria's mother had fallen in love with. "Hi! I'm Blake, Victoria's best friend. We live across the street from each other, but I just moved here, so I don't know anyone other than her. What's your name? Are you in our class? Wanna be friends? Maybe you can come over after school and play with me and Vicky."
The former bully just glared and stomped off to meet the teacher, shoving Blake aside roughly. He blinked as he watched the boys leave and turned back to Victoria. "Did I say something wrong? I thought I was being very friendly. I came across to strong, didn't I? I knew I should have saved the inviting over to the house for a later date."
Victoria shook her head, still a little thrown off by the fact that her was too short to even slap against her cheeks. Oh, and she was still getting used to the appearance of the little boy before her. "You just interrupted his dominating the weak."
"Human children dominate each other?" Blake asked confused as they hurried over to the teacher, who was calling once more for her class to congregate before the door to the building. "I didn't think they started doing that until puberty, or that's what Smokescreen told me."
"That's not what I meant Bluestreak," she whispered as they entered the building, dropping the fake name and using the boy's real one. In the line ahead of them, she caught a glance of a freckled face turning to glare at where they trailed at the end of the line. "It's called bullying, and a lot of kids do it because of home issues, and it makes them feel bigger than the others their age."
"That sounds like how Sunstreaker is to the Mini-bots. Except they team up and take him down when his abuse gets to be too much."
Victoria couldn't help but snicker at the thought of a bunch of mechs the size of Rumble and Frenzy, two mechs known as Cassettes that she had previously met, dog piling on top of the "Dandelion of Doom." Her laughter increased as Bluestreak answered her humor with almost ticklish prods through their bond.
What an odd thing that bond was proving to be. Victoria didn't understand it one bit and often struggled to separate the feelings she felt that weren't hers. Bluestreak helped a lot by sometimes blocking his end, but after he confessed that it disturbed him to have to cut it off for long periods of time, Victoria had insisted that he didn't do that. She'd just have to learn how to control it.
And she was highly inspired to do so. Bluestreak and Wheeljack, a brilliant engineer who pretended to be Bluestreak's "human father," had explained some of the aspects of bonding that intrigued her. Not only were feelings able to be transferred from one to the other but bonded Cybertronians could actually talk to one another. The mechanics of it were sketchy (as were a lot of things about bonds, or so she was beginning to learn), but the infamous spark-twins Sideswipe and Sunstreaker often did it, driving a mech known as Red Alert mad because they did it to sneak past incriminating comm. link conversations that could be used against them later, and Bluestreak had confessed to sometimes being able to do the same with his old guardian.
The closest she had come to achieving that was sending a spike of instinctive fear to all of the mechs she was currently connected to. It had taken a lot of effort from Wheeljack to keep Bluestreak from destroying her house to reach where she had been freaking out about a spider. Needless to say, Victoria currently had no control over the bonds and wasn't expected to have any after only a few weeks of even becoming aware of it.
Victoria was snapped out of her thoughts as they reached the classroom. "Blake" nudged her physically to gain her attention and pointed at the clusters of desks lined into two neat rows. "Can we sit at the front? I wanna have a front row seat."
The little girl couldn't help but wonder when the novelty of school would wear off for the mech in disguise. Maybe by fifth grade? Until then it was cute to see his light blue eyes light up with such excitement. "I think we have to sit in alphabetical order."
That adorable smile instantly fell. Whether it was by first or last name, they wouldn't be sitting by each other. Wheeljack had randomly chosen the last name "Wright" for the Autobot family. Victoria's last name was the generic "Anderson." They'd be sitting across the room from each other.
Feeling the despair across their bond, Victoria patted the fake boy on the shoulder. "We're still in the same class. Just think of it as…a way to meet new people!"
Bluestreak perked up slightly. Being the social mech he was, finding new people to talk to was fun. Especially someone who could put up with his constant babble.
Kids rearranged themselves, running around the room excitedly to find their names and being happy when they found a friend from the previous year. Victoria and Bluestreak stuck together for as long as possible before having to separate, moving to opposite ends of the room. Thanks to the way their desks were facing, it was like they were sitting right across from each other, and Bluestreak waved happily from the desk he sat at.
Victoria was about to return the happy gesture when a familiar face jumped into the seat that was across from her. Her bully gave her a predatory smile (at least as close to one as a third grader could get) and all she could think was a sarcastic, "Joy."
Maybe she could take some test that would just bump her up to high school. Or just skip all those steps and do college again. She could become famous by being the youngest person to ever get a four year degree. That would be a nice way to live your life the second time around.
Until then, she had to deal with this kid playing footsie with her underneath the desk.
Far from Earth, in the cold outer reaches of space, a quiet ship drifted along its planned course. It was nothing like a human would imagine an alien vessel to be like, much less dramatic and boring. It wasn't meant to attract attention. It wasn't a battleship rigged with a battalion of guns or a gaudy civilian vessel decked out with the best money could buy; it was a moving lab with the only adornment being an emblem that resembled a face with sharp edges embossed on the side.
It echoed the tastes of the owner, who was traversing down one of the blank hallways within the ship at a leisure pace. He was in rush to reach his destination, and the drones hugged the walls as he passed, wisely avoiding the bulky, square mech with and the cannon mounted as his right arm. The eerie single red optic didn't divert from the path in front of him as drones weren't important enough to grasp the scientist's attention.
Eventually he reached the entrance of his private lab, entering the complicated code that few—if any—would have the ability of cracking without setting off the alarm. That is, if they were able to sneak past the highly advanced security to begin with.
The dark mech entered the lab and glanced around briefly before walking towards a group of sacs that hung from a pillar off to the side of the door, bypassing the tables full of disturbing of tools and disembodied parts that he had been experimenting with. But those were for full grown mechs. His newest project focused more on…the smaller ones.
Pulling a scalpel from his subspace, the scientist chose an embryotic sac that appeared to house a decent sized form and cut a long slit along the flimsy barrier. Fluid spilled out onto an already stained floor, sending the form slipping from the sac and into the hand of the bigger mech. The mech ignored the frantic squeaking as he non-too-gently brought the squirming protoform to the closest table, placing it there with the same amount of care he had used to rip it from the only home it had ever known.
The scientist was already feeling highly disappointed by the pathetic act the thing before him was putting on. It squawked and chirped, weakly reaching for any source of comfort. The older mech could care less as he poked and prodded, feeling more disappointed as its limbs were so flimsy that they couldn't withstand those simple actions. After the yells and cries became annoying, the Cyclops concluded his observation by popping open the premature chest plate.
The disappointment reached its peak as he gazed at the glowing orb within the chassis. It sputtered and wavered, behaving erratically as it tried to hide after being exposed for all to see. It didn't matter if the arms broke under his treatment or the optics couldn't function properly, both of which were easily fixable. The whole point of his experiment was to create a sentient soldier, and without a strong spark, this little thing was nothing more than the drones that worked on his ship.
With no emotion whatsoever, the cold-sparked scientist crushed the weak spark, not even pausing to watch the life leave the small vessel he had created as he tossed it into closest waste receptacle. It would have never survived outside of the sac it had been developing in—a failure just like the many before it had been.
"This is turning out to be much more difficult than I had anticipated," he mused as he reached for another sac that housed a mature enough form. He repeated the process several more times, finding weaker and weaker sparks as he went along.
Perhaps he was aiming too high? The point of his experiments was to create a soldier that could function on its own, unlike the drones that had to be programed to do their duties and even then guided along the way when they encountered something their programing couldn't comprehend. They were set to only to do one task at a time: clean, fight, pleasure, really anything the sick minds of the Decepticon army could come up with. That's why there were so many. But they had been one of his most successful creations, allowing the Decepticons to easily outnumber their pathetic enemy two to one.
Now he wanted something greater. The loss of their leader had put their precarious situation into perspective. As sad as it was, not only did the Decepticon drones outnumber their enemy, they outnumbered them, the sentient Decepticons. They were easier to control than normal soldiers, but there came a point where it just didn't seem…logically correct. Why continue to create hundreds—thousands—of useless beings that fell so easily? It was a never ending process that just wasted their already slim resources.
So the Decepticon had set out with a new goal: find a way to make a drone sentient. And that involved giving it a spark, which was turning out to not be as easy as he had predicted it to be. But perhaps he was, to reiterate, aiming to high. He had shifted through the archived data they held on sparks, which wasn't much considering some of the data had been corrupted over time, and compiled his own archive of the strongest features of sparks.
The trine bonds had fascinated him the most. The bond between three Seekers was an amazing thing, and he would have most likely never have found it if he hadn't hacked Starscream's files vorns ago. It was what allowed them to fight so beautifully in the battlefield, silently communicating aerial maneuvers with barely a thought. It was a useful tool to use during a time of war, and the scientist had wanted that on top of all the other things he concluded made a strong, efficient spark.
But making it work was proving to be a hassle. All of his projects had ended the same as the one before: weak sparks that wouldn't even survive a breem without guttering out. A proven fact as he had timed how long it took the first few sparks fade; all of the sparks guttered out right at three-quarters of a breem. Perhaps he should find stronger sparks to split apart and place within the protoforms. The only problem was developing a method to recognize those stronger sparks. Autobot captives obviously didn't possess them. Maybe it was the way of splitting the spark that was the problem…
He was so lost in thoughts that he hardly noticed when he reached the last sac, splitting it apart like the others and allowing the tiny form to slip into his hand. However, he did notice how the protoform didn't squawk like the other. It appeared this one didn't even survive within the sac…what a disappointing waste of resources.
With the intent of disposing the body, he aimed for the closest waste receptacle when he paused. What was that vibrating emitting from the form? Curiosity peaked once more, he detoured to the closest table and reached forward with the intent of unlatching the little chassis.
Shockwave, one of the cruelest, coldest sparks in the Decepticons army, had never been so surprised in his long life at the next set of events.
As he began prying the chest plate open the tiny sparkling flinched violently. Little red optics flickered on with a squawk and stared into his only cold optic. He initially ignored the stare as he attempted to keep the now struggling sparkling still, becoming angry as it slithered out of his hold more than once. As his anger rose, it was quickly overtaken by shock at the sparkling's next action.
It growled fiercely and used its tiny mouth to bite down viciously on the closest finger.
The body was too small to cause pain, but that wasn't the mech's main concern at the moment. This was the first time one of his current experiments had even attempted to put up a fight, and by the way it was gnawing on his finger, it didn't plan to stop until the threat it perceived had been eliminated. He didn't even have to check the spark to see if it was a strong one. The fact that it hadn't already guttered out from stress was proof enough.
"You should be honored," Shockwave droned as he put an end to the harmless attacks and grabbed the tiny mechling by the short bar located on the back of his neck. The sparkling continued to growl as it was picked up even as it pathetically curled in on itself. "You are the first to move on to stage two." He noticed an oddity on the sparkling's back as he strolled across the room and chuckled. "How amusing. The one mechling to survive is actually a little Seekerlet. What a rare occurrence indeed."
The Seekerlet squeaked, not in pain but offense, as the Decepticon prodded the premature nubs of its back. Shockwave took a small amount of amusement from the noise but quickly forgot it as he tossed the Seekerlet into one of the many tanks that had been created in preparation for this next step. The premature protoform squawked again, inhaling the Energon that encompassed it.
Shockwave observed it squirming for a moment before moving on. Since the spark was strong enough to survive out of the embryotic sac, it would continue its development within the tank of enriched Energon. It was a slow progress according to the normal developmental data he had compiled, but the stunting growth wouldn't harm it. It would just keep him small until two more could be created to complete the trine. His research had told him that the bond was more likely to form within younger mechs as opposed to older ones.
The scientist documented the results, glancing occasionally at the tank to observe the sparkling curling up further and optics winking out as it adjusted to what could be its home for many stellar cycles. With new possibilities bouncing around his processor, the Decepticon exited the lab and traveled down the hallway with the intent of grabbing a fresh cube of Energon from the main dispenser before retiring. Maybe if he delayed the trine programming, allowed the spark to develop through the first stage…
"Evening Shockwave." The mono-optic mech came out of his thoughts in time to notice the cyan frame slip past him, the tip of a wing brushing against him due to the small amount of room. He didn't reply as Thundercracker slipped into the personal quarters he shared with his younger Seeker companion further down the hallway.
Shockwave didn't appreciate Starscream's attempts of spying on him through the Seeker's supposed trine mates. But he grudgingly admitted that if the two Seekers hadn't been thrust upon him to begin with, he may never have grown interested in their special type of bond.
After all, their splintered bond had been one of the inspirations for him to create a better, stronger trine that would work for him.
AN: Shockwave is so evil. But he'd probably be scarier if he was nice and all o_O So…there's the prologue. Extremely different from my other story's beginning. Anyway, dear readers I will not have a set time of updating for this fic. For the next few weeks, I will most likely only be writing during the brief periods of nothing in my classes. Real life sucks :( That being said, I honestly have no idea when the next chapter will be available. It could be a week, it could be a month—I just don't know. So just be aware that until my school work dies down, regular updates will be a thing of the past, which sucks because I know how annoying it is to wait forever for a fanfic to update. Loads and loads of apologies in advance!